School Holiday Weather Changing Almost Daily
After our first spell of decent northerlies earlier this week, it looks like the wind is going to swing to all points of the compass over the next few days. We are likely to get a brief, but fairly stiff blow from the north Friday night as a trough crosses our stretch of coastline.
Westerly winds Saturday are likely to drop out for a few hours during the day, whilst Sunday looks like offering the best conditions for boaties. By Monday, we are likely to see a return of cooler southeasterly breezes that will stiffen a little before easing to glorious conditions by late next week.
Tonight’s first quarter moon phase means we are in the midst of a set of neap tides with minimal tidal flow. The tides will start to build over the coming week leading into next Friday’s full moon, which will see a substantial increase in fish activity.
Let’s take a look at a few different options to entertain the junior fishos over the school holidays:
Urangan Pier Firing Big Time
School mackerel have been thick at times, with broad-barred mackerel also making an appearance this week. Big queenies have been quite abundant and offer a truly exciting sight-fishing opportunity for anyone tossing a lure or livie their way.
Mack tuna have been turning up in the mornings in schools, tearing around harassing the masses of herring hugging the pylons. Their green backs are a dead giveaway of their identity, as opposed to the typically much larger longtail with their black backs. The longtails come and go depending upon the tides, though expect to see them again over the coming week.
Shop regular Dax has been landing some nice tuna of late
Some great colours on this longtail
Brian came in the other day to grab some gear and for some local advice. He took his sons out for a fish on the Urangan Pier and was stoked to land this queenfish. Great work team!
All this action has caught the attention of the pier’s nastiest thugs too, with big bruising GT’s lurking beneath the jetty waiting for an opportunity to scoff a hapless mackerel or any other wounded fish. The locals are well attuned to targeting GT’s with live mackerel (which must be of at least legal size to be used legally). It might seem like a large live bait, particularly when using mackerel of a few kilos in weight, but when you see that big cavernous gob open up and swallow your mackerel without even touching the sides, your concerns will be alleviated.
Of course, heavy tackle and more than your fair share of luck is required to extract a big GT from around the pylons of the pier. Many more are lost than landed, so the fish can become quite hook-shy during and after a period such as these school holidays. Big GT’s are naturally very cunning, and quite cautious, and even more-so at the pier with so many hooks in the water.
In this situation, another popular technique used by locals to catch pier GT’s comes into its own. Basically, a number of herring are caught and are thrown into the water one after the other to attract the GT’s (like a whole fish berley trail). These are locally termed “throw downs”, and the constant stream of easy snacks fools the GT’s into a false sense of security. Once convinced that the GT’s are feeding freely, an identical herring with a small but very strong hook hidden in it is fed into the trail of throw downs. Watch as a target GT scoffs the bait and its game on.
The above are just two of the most popular local techniques for targeting giant trevally at the pier. These apex predators will eat just about anything when they first arrive in the area, including hooked fish that you are fighting and readying for hoisting up onto the jetty.
They have even been known to devour live green toadfish when nothing else works. The poor old toadie has only one defence and that is to blow itself up to a size that it hopes the GT cannot fit in its mouth, which can be a spectacle to witness as the toadie bounces around above the attacking GT’s.
It is not just pelagics entertaining the kids out on the pier at present, as there’s still plenty of whiting in the area. The neap tides are less than ideal of course, but the stirred-up waters from recent northerlies has a few fish still feeding after dark. The size of the whiting has been a bit variable at times, but we would expect a run of better-quality whiting to return once the tides build in a few days’ time.
Whilst the best of the bream fishing is well behind us out along the pier, there is still a population of smaller fish that can entertain the little kids if you are happy to catch and release. Flathead are possible from the first channel or from the slope out the end. These flatties will favour live baits of herring, or even better – pike. The odd tiger squid might venture a bit too close to the pier for its own good, so make sure you have a squid jig handy when wandering the planks.
Tri from Fraser Guided Fishing putting clients onto some solid longies.
Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing finding some keg longtail as well.
A big rising tide, fishing the last couple of hours of the flood and the first of the ebb will typically see best results. Night sessions will improve the quality and quantity of whiting caught, but daytime sessions with the kids should still be a lot of fun. The big stormwater pipes crossing the beach offer a great starting point, as do the rock groynes at the eastern end of Shelley Beach. Be mobile and wander the beach looking for active fish if necessary. Worms and yabbies will score best, but you can peel small prawns if you so wish.
There is a bit of an issue with a water-borne weed this time of year that can adversely affect the fishing when it inundates an area. The weed will move with the tides and prevailing winds, so even though it may be an issue in an area on one occasion, it may not be on another. Shifting elsewhere is the only solution if the weed is too thick.
If you are stranded on shore and want to get a bit more serious than the local beaches, you could always head out towards Booral and try the stretches of mud flats. This area sees vastly less effort and certainly no crowds, but is a much less pleasant environment, typically the domain of only the more serious landlubber. Scores of whiting, a few flatties, bream, grunter and even threadfin and blue salmon are possible from this stretch of coastline.
You will need suitable footwear if planning to venture out onto the mud flats. Mud interspersed with gravelly, oyster-encrusted rocks is the type of terrain you will be facing, and the tide recedes for hundreds of metres across the flats on the bigger tides. Fishing the early to mid flood tide typically sees the best results. Lures and baits can all be used, and this area offers fantastic light tackle topwater fishing for the bread and butter species. Avoid periods of onshore winds when fishing this area.
Mix of Species in Our Creeks to Entertain the Kids
You can try Eli Creek in behind Pt Vernon for a mix of smaller species such as whiting and bream. Flathead can be regular captures from this creek, falling to any number of lures or live baits. Some surprisingly good mangrove jack call this little creek home, but it is likely only the kayakers or more adventurous walkers that will venture upstream to where they hang out.
Boating in Eli Creek can be very hazardous. A tinny can be launched from a mud bank upstream of the rock wall, but the creek has silted up very badly in recent years and is now only accessible a couple of hours either side of high tide. Queenfish, small GT’s, flathead and whiting can be targeted on the vast sand/mud flats out the front of the creek from a small boat, but again, watch the receding tide.
Beelbi Creek out at Toogoom is a little more boat-friendly with a proper boat ramp next to the pub in town, together with a mud ramp beside the bridge on the way to Burrum Heads. These ramps are both very much tide affected. Whiting, bream, flathead, grunter, mangrove jack and barra all frequent this little creek system. Queenies and small GT’s are also regular visitors, often seen smashing baitfish out on the flats or in the creek proper.
It's always great getting kids involved in fishing. Pic: Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing
Trevally can provide a tonne of fun on light gear and lures. Pic: HBFS
Landlubbers won’t find many access points other than along the Burrum Heads strip, across the river at Walkers Point or the Woodgate National Park, or upstream at Buxtonville. Boaties can launch at Burrum Heads, Walkers Point, Buxton, Wal’s Camp or Howard.
Big whiting to 45cm are a feature in the Burrum system over the bigger tides this time of year. Bream can be almost a nuisance around some rocks bars and flatties are available in small numbers where ambush points offer them the best feeding spots. Big grunter are possible in the mid reaches at present, along with barra, mangrove jack, the odd threadie or jew and plenty of pesky cod.
Queenfish school up in the deeper holes where sandbanks converge and often are accompanied by schools of little river GT’s. These guys are suckers for small plastics, poppers, stickbaits and fly, and offer a great training ground for the kids. Add big surface-feeding tarpon to this list and the kids should be worn out by day’s end if you can track down the fish.
Those camping at or visiting Burrum Heads will find mackerel, queenfish and grunter around the heads. The kids often entertain themselves with pike around the boat ramp pontoon, and these pike make for great live baits for flatties, queenies, barra and any other major predator passing by.
There is ample opportunity to tangle with mackerel out the front for boaties, with the Burrum 8 Mile and Fairway Buoy both producing schoolies over the past week. Word is that there was also a good run of snapper at these locations recently. Good hauls of sand crabs have been consistent out off the Burrum coastline for the past few months.
Staff member Greg from our boating store Fisho's Boating & Tackle has been pinning some nice grunter on the Chasebaits Flick Prawn.
Some solid flatties have been taking a liking to the Flick Prawn as well.
All manner of lures work for both species, but it is the topwater fishing that sets this little lake apart from the rest. Both barra and bass are suckers for poppers, stickies and frogs out at Lenthalls early and late in the day. Access to the lake is only from 6am to 8pm which is a little frustrating for many, but still offers a crack at the dusk prime time.
Future barra guru Charlie Adams with his new (for now) PB barra.
Not quite local, but certainly a local favourite, is Lake Monduran 150km up the Bruce from Hervey Bay. The lake is very well stocked with fat barra (and huge bass that few care to even bother with). The barra fishing can be a little hot and cold relative to the consistency of wind direction as has been the case in recent weeks, but be there when the conditions are just right and it can offer champagne fishing.
Rob from Lake Monduran Guidelines Fishing Charters has been putting clients onto some nice barra.
This week’s northerly winds and warmer conditions saw a lot of barra move into typical northerly spots. Masses of barra swimming past side scanners has been the norm at times. They can be a bit frustrating when they refuse all offerings, but many have found that all it takes is a lure change to trigger a bite. Suspending hardbodies and paddle-tailed plastics are still the biggest producers. Many of the fish caught are in the mid-nineties, with at least one over a metre caught this week.
The lake is very popular this school holidays, and only unpowered sites are available at the local van park at present. Day tripping from the bay is quite possible, though you really should ensure you are there for the sundown bite if possible. The coming weeks are going to see mega catches from Mondy, it is just a matter of when.
The new range of Samaki Redic lures have been dynamite on the barra!